This is one of a series of paintings I’ve just completed for the final assignment in my painting course, Painting: Materials Exploration, with Curtin University. The name of the series is “The soft touch of water cleaves the obstinate stone”, which comes from the Tao te Ching. The verse actually goes… “As the soft touch of water cleaves the obstinate stone/ so to yield with life solves the insoluble./ To yield, I have learned, is to come again,/But this easy lesson, this simple example is lost upon men.” (Witter-Bynner translation). This is painted from a photograph I took on my trip to the USA last year. This was just a minor feature really. We flew over the amazing Lake Powell, and then on to Monument Valley. It was absolutely entrancing and provided the inspiration for many paintings to come.
My step-son, Dan, recently celebrated a landmark birthday, and I painted this portrait of him, using a professional photograph as reference (it was a surprise, so I couldn’t very well ask him to sit for it). I hope it reflects the handsome, intelligent and witty man that he is. Well, that’s a lot to expect. Maybe I should settle for “it looks more or less human”. Anyway, happy birthday, Dan. Sadly for the hairdressing profession, Dan has now opted for a lower maintenance do. But the tips were great to paint.
I started this painting some time ago and have only just got around to finishing it off. If it is finished, that is. It often seems to me that the painting finishes with me, rather than I with it, if that makes any sense at all. Anyway, this was painted from a photo I took on a little holiday jaunt with my good friend, Janine. The lake is the out-flow of an underground river that flows through the Jenolan caves system. The suspended limestone material that it carries gives the water an incredible opalescent jade colour.
It’s been an age since I posted a new painting here, and it seems that my objective of creating 100 paintings for the year is going to be impossible. I’ve been doing two units of a visual arts degree with Curtin University these past twelve weeks, and these studies have taken up virtually all my time. However, a few paintings are now coming out of that study which I feel able to post.
This painting is of a lovely patient man called John who sat for a group of keen painters at the Gold Coast Art Society for a portrait painting workshop under the tutelage of the wonderful portrait artist, Robert Hannaford this last weekend. The essence of the Master’s wisdom: follow nature, learn how to see, keep it loose, keep revising, don’t work from photographs.